Friday, October 3, 2014

The Man Who Seemed to Know Too Much

Here comes faint praise indeed for H. G. Wells (1866-1946), in this critic's view a far better artist than either a prophet or pundit. Wells always was a mixed bag:
H. G. Wells circa 1890.
. . . Take H. G. Wells, for example. He writes rapid articles on "The Labour Unrest" for London papers. He contributes the initial essay in Socialism and the Great State, which has recently been published. He is ready at any moment to settle any question of the present or future from the Titanic disaster to the destiny of a continent. He despatched the Future of America after a visit of six weeks. He writes almost as well on subjects about which he knows nothing as on subjects about which he knows a good deal. So shrewd a master is he of his craft that he can produce the illusion of profound conviction on subjects that have just entered his head, and out of a five minutes' glance he can create for literary purposes a "direct gaze of the intellect." And he is so delightful a person that it would make little difference to us if, instead of rephrasing the speculations of our tea tables, he went back two centuries for his thoughts. Mr. G. K. Chesterton, his contemporary, goes back nearly two thousand years for his, and Mr. Chesterton is even more exciting.  . . . — "Chronicle and Comment: Mr. H. G. Wells," THE BOOKMAN (October 1912)
G. K. Chesterton in 1909.
- ONTOS has covered Wells's well-known science fiction before HERE.
- A few of Chesterton's views on detective fiction are HERE and HERE.

Category: General fiction

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